A character with a big mouth says something stupid or, better yet, self-incriminating, often with the subject of their commentary standing nearby or, better yet, right behind them
. Usually the twin trope to or immediately followed by Did I Just Say That Out Loud?
The trope name comes from the phrase "to put your foot in your mouth" (also playfully referred to as "foot-in-mouth disease", a pun on the very serious livestock illness "foot-and
Closely related to Ignore The Disability
Can lead to either Change the Uncomfortable Subject
or Digging Yourself Deeper
. Sometimes both.
Anime and Manga
Live Action TV
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer
- Spike does this often when he's trying to court Buffy.
- Invoked by Buffy in "Dopplegangland" when she tries to apologize to Willow (not realizing she is talking to Willow's alternate universe vampire double) for an unfortunate comment earlier in the episode, saying, "You know how my foot likes to live in my mouth."
- Referenced fairly often on Mash. In one case, BJ claims Charles has "put a whole shoe store" in his mouth." (That example, interestingly, was incorrect, as Charles had fully meant to offend everyone.)
- In Firefly, Simon does it virtually every time he tries to have a conversation with Kaylee.
- Coupling: A form of Cannot Talk to Women, by Jeff: just about every time Jeff talks to a woman, he manages to do this. For example, this exchange occurs just when things seem promising:
Lynda: I like kissing, don't you?
Jeff: Oh, yeah! Especially the tongues part. I love getting all that extra tongue. You know, sometimes I eat really cold ice cream just so that my tongue goes numb and it feels like someone else's... But then we all get lonely sometimes.
- In Sherlock, we have Molly.
Molly: How's the hip?
Mrs. Hudson: Oh, it's atrocious. But thanks for asking.
- Star Trek: The Next Generation: During the 3rd season episode, Hollow Pursuits, Capt. Picard accidentally calls Barclay by his unofficial nickname Broccoli. Data tries to put a positive spin on the situation by referencing psychology but really only makes the situation worse.
- In one episode of The Golden Girls, Blanche had an epic one. She meets and asks out a man she met in a bar, not realizing at the time (since he was sitting down) that he was blind. When he comes to pick her up for their date, she enters the room, saying things like, "Aren't I the prettiest thing you've ever seen?" and "What's the matter, are you blinded by my beauty?" She finally takes a good look, sees his cane, and stops in her tracks. Sophia directly addresses it, saying, "Want a glass of water to wash down your foot?"
- JAG: Lt. Bud Roberts falls victim to this fairly often, especially in the pilot movie whenever dealing with Lt. Caitlin Pike. His case of Foot-in-Mouth Disease is particularly unfortunate given that his original job is Public Affairs.
- NCIS: Jimmy Palmer is very prone to this. He does not seem to have heard the old adage that "a closed mouth gathers no feet". His foot tasting episodes routinely escalate to Digging Yourself Deeper territory.
- In Doctor Who, the Tenth Doctor has a bad habit of doing this while talking to Queen Elizabeth I, repeatedly saying terribly offensive or regrettable things under the assumption she was a Zygon duplicate. It gets them married.
- A Moody Christmas. In the first episode Dan mistakes Cora for a door-knocking Red Cross volunteer because of her shirt, and donates some money. It turns out she is his cousin's new girlfriend, isn't a volunteer, and designed and hand-made the shirt herself.
- The cover for Robert Sherman and Al Larsen's album "Smash Flops" (containing such bon mots as Columubs, You Big Bag Of Steam and Watch World War III On Pay TV) has a Virgil Partch drawing of a conductor directing three male singers, each with their foot in their mouth.
- Code Name: Hunter: Gypsy stuffs both feet, up to her knees in when called to the commander's office by Queen Moraine. She's not in trouble. Yet. One of the readers lampshaded this in the Shout Box.
- The Whiteboard:
- In this strip Pirta and Swampy get into a brief discussion of his nickname. After Swampy asks about her name in an idiot moment for him, he comments that he can skip the appetizer, as he'll just chew on his own foot.
- In In this strip, a customer that's been hassling Pirta for a date is asked if he'd be okay with the situation were their positions reversed, and she were trying to get him to cheat on his girlfriend. He accidentally lets slip that he'd be fine with cheating on his girlfriend Jenny for a date with Pirta. He winds up thrown bodily out of the store after being beat up by Pirta for his troubles.
- In Tales of the Questor, when assuring a girl that people who take her for male are foolish, do not mention her hips.
- Dan and Mab's Furry Adventures :
- The Fox Sister: Alex has a talent to say just the wrong things to Yun Hee.
- Dragon City:
- Done at least twice by Grey O'Shea in Terra, though the best one is also the first. See page 130 where he crossed it with Right Behind Me.
Simmons: (referring to Grey's rescue of Alex and Rick) C'mon, I saw that one of the officers was female, and a cute one at that—I know you, Grey.
Grey: Her?! Please, she's way too uptight. I don't have time for girls like that.
Simmons: What, you think you even stand a chance?
Grey: Give me a break. She may have an attitude, but if I wanted her, I could have her by the end of the night.
Alex: Hm, I'll take that bet.
- A Running Gag in Schlock Mercenary is the multiple creative variations used to call someone (usually Tagon, but he was by no means the only guilty party) out when they said something particularly embarrassing to or about another character while in earshot. It doesn't get mentioned as frequently in more recent strips as it did early on, but still pops up from time to time.
- Paranormal Mystery Squad: Apparently, Stephanie's been around the block a few times 'cuz she seemed way too familiar with "Inspiration Point". She not only failed to cover it up, she wound up confirming it by proudly admitting it to Agent Lisbon:
Agent: "After all, this is "Inspiration Point". You know what kids do out here."
"Er— no! I totally don't!"
- Twokinds: "Red" has recently started running afoul of this trope. Winds up running into Digging Yourself Deeper territory.
- A defining trait of Flux from morphE to the point that the comic introducing her was even named Open Mouth to imply this very trope.
- Stand Still, Stay Silent: One character describes the sound of the Danish language. With a pair of Danish soldiers right behind him.
- In Gunnerkrigg Court, Mort the ghost says Annie is "attractive," then starts backpedaling and trying to explain he didn't mean that kind of attractive, and concludes by turning himself into a gravestone with a "foot -> mouth" pictograph.
- Ménage à 3: Clueless geek Gary is prone to this sort of error. See here for one, lampshaded, example.
- Schlock Mercenary gets a fair amount of these, but special mention should go to the Reverend, for getting two situations in two days.